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The 5 Best GBA Emulators for Android | 2024 Edition

Here are the best GBA emulators for Android, perfect for indulging in retro gaming goodness.

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The Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA) likely holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers in the 2000s. Many GBA games still hold up today, too, and the best GBA emulators for Android allow you to play them without needing to hunt down a used GBA.

I tested most of the popular emulators on the market and found five that stood apart from the rest. Whether you’re just getting into retro games or want to indulge in gaming nostalgia, this list of the best GBA emulators will help you get started.


Lemuroid GBA emulator

Lemuroid is a relatively basic emulator compared to some of the paid competition. Still, the simplicity has a benefit: it’s entirely free with no ads. So, while it may not win out in features, it may just be the emulator for most of you who want to play GBA games without too much fuss.

Lemuroid emulates more than just the GBA, with notable highlights including other Nintendo consoles like the NES, Super NES, and 3DS; Sega consoles like the Genesis and Master System; and Sony’s PlayStation and PlayStation Portable. In short, it’s a great emulator if you’re an Android retro gaming fanatic.

But let’s focus on Lemuroid’s GBA emulation. It runs great on the devices I tested, with no slowdown or noticeable inaccuracies in terms of graphics or gameplay. There was no way to confirm whether it’s 100% accurate, but I’m confident it’s good enough for almost everyone.

Unfortunately, you don’t get a lot of options with Lemuroid. On-screen button customization, for example, is limited to moving and resizing the default layout, with no way to change individual buttons. Lemuroid also lacks support for cheats and Wi-Fi/internet-based multiplayer.

That said, Lemuroid still supports local multiplayer if you connect more than one Bluetooth gamepad to your device. You also get Google Drive sync, which is always a handy feature for those who game on multiple devices.

I recommend most of you start with Lemuroid and play a few games with it. If you’re happy with the feature set, stick with it and don’t look back. But if you decide you need more features, check out some of the paid options out there.


Lemuroid is entirely free, with no ads.

Google Play Store: Lemuroid

My Boy!

My Boy! GBA emulator

My Boy! is one of the most popular GBA emulators on the Google Play Store, and it’s for a very good reason. It’s an accurate, high-performance GBA emulator with a ton of features and customizability.

My Boy! has quite a thorough options menu. It offers basic audio and video options such as audio bitrate, screen orientation, and GLSL shaders (for effects like CRT scanlines). But you also get extra options such as BIOS support, several save game formats, and the option to use GameShark cheats and patch ROMS (great for ROM hacks or fan translations). You also get a handy fast-forward option to skip through boring bits and support for multiplayer (local, Wi-Fi, and internet).

You also get thorough support for essential GBA cartridge features such as the gyroscope, tilt, solar sensor, and rumble. Not every game uses these, of course, but the ones that do will offer a much better experience when you run them in an emulator like My Boy!. You can even sync save games over Google Drive, which is great if you play on several devices and want to carry over progress easily.

However, one of my favorite aspects of My Boy! is the on-screen controls. It has one of the best default setups of all the Android GBA emulators I tried. But it also offers full customization of each element so you can tweak it to your liking. What’s more, My Boy! supports multiple layout profiles, so you can switch between them quickly.

It’s impossible to test every GBA game out there, but I had no issues emulating GBA games with My Boy! From modern homebrew titles to classic commercial adventure games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Four Swords, My Boy! handled everything perfectly.


My Boy! Lite is free but lacks many of the standout features of the full version. Also, it may not be available in all regions. The full version, which I tested, costs $4.99.

Google Play Store: My Boy! Lite | My Boy!

Pizza Boy GBA

Pizza Boy GBA emulator

Pizza Boy GBA is another highly-regarded GBA emulator for Android. It’s another very accurate and speedy emulator that should be able to run any GBA game without issues at a smooth and steady framerate, even on modest hardware.

Pizza Boy GBA has a great interface, with a sleek ROMs menu (capable of showing game and cover art) and charming GBC and GBA-style borders when running a game. Of course, you can disable the border and stretch the image to near-fullscreen in landscape mode, but I like the default presentation. It’s charming, and that counts for a lot in my book.

Of course, an appealing interface won’t compensate for a lack of features elsewhere. But Pizza Boy GBA has that covered. It has all the essential features of a modern GBA emulator: save states, fast-forward and rewind, cheat support, and multiplayer (local, Wi-Fi, or over the internet).

Like My Boy!, Pizza Boy GBA also handles extra GBA cartridge features like the gyroscope, tilt, solar sensor, and rumble. You also get achievement support via RetroAchievements, which is a nice bonus if you’re a modern gamer used to unlocking them as you play a game.

Pizza Boy GBA supports saving settings on a per-ROM basis. This includes your on-screen controller layout, rumble, gyroscope sensitivity, and the GBA (or GBC) border skin. It’s a relatively uncommon feature and one that I like a lot. You can even set the emulator to load specific BIOS files when you load a ROM, which is ideal for games that require a particular BIOS to run correctly.

I had a great time playing games with Pizza Boy GBA. It’s a great emulator that should offer almost all users a fuss-free and ultra-compatible experience. If you want a GBA emulator that’ll do it all, Pizza Boy GBA is one to consider.


Pizza Boy GBA is available in free and paid versions. The free version, Pizza Boy GBA Basic is ad-free but lacks many of the abovementioned features. Pizza Boy GBA Pro costs $4.99.

Google Play Store: Pizza Boy GBA Basic | Pizza Boy GBA Pro


John GBAC emulator

John GBAC combines two well-regarded GameBoy emulators: John GBA and John GBC. As the name suggests, it’s a GBA and GBC emulator that could be a perfect solution for all your GameBoy emulation needs.

John GBAC straddles a middle ground between a no-frills emulator like Lemuroid and the more full-featured My Boy! and Pizza Boy GBA. Its main focus is still offering a straightforward emulation experience for Nintendo’s old-school handhelds, but it lets you customize the experience a bit more than Lemuroid.

For example, John GBAC lets you edit and save independent layouts for portrait and landscape orientation. You can also set your preferred image scaling method and lock the emulator into a specific orientation (including reverse landscape, which is a nice touch).

Conversely, you don’t get power user features such as BIOS support, gyroscope, or solar sensor emulation. John GBAC also doesn’t support shaders or filters—neither are essential, but they’re nice bonus features. Multiplayer is also missing, sadly. But it’s not all bad: you get cloud sync via DropBox and the John DataSync app, cheats work, and there’s even a “low power” mode to help keep battery usage in check.

John GBAC is a great little GBA and GBC emulator that ticks all the essential boxes and adds some welcome extras that help set it apart from other minimalist emulators.


John GBAC is free to download but shows full-screen ads every time you exit the settings menu. You can pay $4.49 to remove the ads. The free version is full-featured otherwise, so you can save your money if you don’t mind the occasional ad.

Google Play Store: John GBAC


RetroArch emulator

RetroArch is a bit of an outlier here because it’s technically not an emulator. Instead, it’s a unified front end where you manage all your “cores” (or, in other words, emulators) and games. If you want to emulate more than just the GBA and don’t want to install 15 different apps, then RetroArch is the app you want.

That said, RetroArch’s GBA “cores,” such as VBA-M and mGBA, are excellent (and form the basis of some standalone GBA emulators), so it’s still a viable option if you only want to emulate the GBA. Both of those cores are renowned for their accuracy and speed, and I had a smooth, fault-free gaming experience.

Unfortunately, one notable issue is the lack of on-screen control customization. You have several preset overlays (including a nice GBA overlay), but you can’t tweak them to your liking. Choosing ROM files is slightly tedious, too, as you have to navigate through your device’s file structure every time.

If you get bored with the GBA, you can download cores to emulate many vintage microcomputers and consoles. From the Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation to the Enterprise 64 and Thomson MO/TO, there’s likely a core for any system you may want to emulate. Most cores will run fine on entry- and mid-range hardware, but some (like the Nintendo Wii) will require one of the best gaming tablets for ideal performance.

However, it’s not just the emulation versatility that sets RetroArch apart. RetroArch also offers a ton of options to configure your emulation experience. From core-specific settings to general settings (such as granular fast forward and rewind speeds), there are a ton of menus to dive through that allow you to set things up just the way you want.

Of course, you don’t have to go through all the menus. RetroArch runs games fine with its default settings, with the only real hurdle being the need to choose and install the right core when you first start the app. Once that’s done, though, it is broadly fuss-free unless you actively want to tweak.


RetroArch is completely free, with no in-app ads to sit through. It’s available on the Google Play Store, but that version is extremely old (last updated Nov 2021). The Play Store version also doesn’t have access to all RetroArch cores and lacks a fully functioning Core Downloader.

So, I recommend downloading the latest version in an APK file from the official website and installing it directly. This gives you the full RetroArch experience.

Google Play Store: RetroArch

Official website: RetroArch


If you want to get into GBA emulation on Android, I think Lemuroid is the emulator to try first. It isn’t as full-featured as paid emulators, but it has all the basic features and is completely ad-free.

However, if you find yourself needing extra features such as layout customization, My Boy! and Pizza Boy GBA are the emulators to check out. I prefer My Boy!, but both are great and worth paying for.

RetroArch is also a great free option for GBA emulation, but its complexity means it’s best for a tinkerer or someone who wants to emulate multiple consoles. Whichever emulator you choose, though, be sure to have fun!

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